Someone moved the ad industry’s cheese. The various reactions from industry leaders have been slow and haphazard at best, but that’s starting to change. The World Federation of Advertisers has formed the Partnership for Responsible Addressable Media.
“In the ancient story of the Tower of Babel, the city collapsed because its inhabitants lost the ability to speak a common language,” says Bill Tucker, Group EVP Association of National Advertisers and Executive Director of the new Partnership. “The digital advertising industry faces a comparable challenge around addressability today, as recent changes announced by operating systems, browsers, and other technologies if implemented, will significantly impact the traditional marketplace language of cookies and mobile IDs.”
In other words, the industry’s biggest spenders want a more sustainable future for online advertising, and they want it now.
“This means improving the way we use data to reduce consumer annoyance and bombardment, preventing bad actors from profiting from digital advertising and creating the right conditions for a diverse and effective advertising ecosystem to thrive in all markets,” says Stephan Loerke, CEO of the WFA.
Meanwhile, Mark’s Ego and Objective Reality Not In The Same Venn Diagram
CNBC reports that Marky Z still doesn’t get it.
Although Facebook has spent recent weeks trying to stanch the departure of ad dollars with meetings and memos, an address from CEO Mark Zuckerberg to employees, suggested the company doesn’t plan to make changes based on the demands of advertisers. Zuckerberg reportedly said though the boycott posed reputational issues, his guess was “that all these advertisers will be back on the platform soon enough.”
Delusional thinking happens. In a company that’s built to last, the delusions are challenged, along with the delusional.
In totally related news, Facebook’s revenue for the second quarter rose 11 percent from a year earlier to $18.7 billion, while profit jumped 98 percent to $5.2 billion.
What About the Widespread Lack of Creative Standards?
I appreciate the above efforts to clean up the digital advertising ecosystem. Now let’s look at some of the other critical debris piles in need of a deep clean. Warning. What you are about to see is all wrong:
“Safe Drivers Save 40 Percent” is not a man’s name, it’s a price promotion.
Allstate’s long-time spokesman Dennis Haysbert is diminished (for no good reason) in this commercial. He’s no longer a famous actor, he’s the living embodiment of the CMO’s wettest of dreams, where the insurer’s price promo is more attractive than a Hollywood star.
Self-referential ads—ads that refer to themselves or other ads—are ridiculous excuses for an ad. There are no safe drivers in this Allstate ad, just a bunch of star-struck poseurs. The joke is that the poseurs are gaga over the offer, not the presence of Haysbert.
Haysbert is the company’s “Good Hands” man. No matter the quality of the script, he delivers with aplomb. In fact, the actor delivers the one redeeming thing in this spot. When the poseurs address him with their absurd greetings, his expression is priceless.
They’re Customers, Not Prey
This ad and other ads from GoodRx neatly demonstrate another pressing problem facing the industry—the use of any means possible to sell anything, as long as the client’s checks keep coming.
Here, it’s not just that the commercial is bad, it’s that the premise of the company is built on the back of deception.
The harmless fib, if we want to call it that, is that GoodRx can help the American shopper successfully address the outrageous inequities in the medical and pharmaceutical industries. Coupons don’t do that. Peaceful revolutions and massive electoral turnouts do that.
In a reformed advertising future, this predatory commercial will not be made. The agency with newly adopted standards will suggest a more rigorous and righteous path—one that honors the customer and awards the client.